Pastor Hal

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It's 11:55....

I have a friend from college who uses props to help him live intentionally.  This year he took an old clock and moved it to 11:55.  The common understanding of "when the clock strikes twelve..." means that life is over and my friend is using the clock to help him understand that life is short.  

Psalm 90:12 is a verse that I always contemplate at the beginning of the year.  When I heard about my friends prop for the year it drove me to this verse.  The scripture says that none of us know the number of our days yet we are instructed to pray or petition God to teach us to number our days.  

There are some important elements of Ps. 90:12 that each of us needs to be focused on.  The first word is "teach."  It is so easy to take life for granted.  The Psalmist instructs us to ask God to teach us to number our days, to help us see life with his timetable.  The book of James tells us that our lives are a vapor............here and then gone.  That isn't a lot of time.  My Grandma died at 103 and my son died at 14.  When you consider both those time spans in light of eternity there isn't a whole lot of difference.  What ever God is calling you to be and do the day to obey is today because it's 11:55.... The second element in the verse is the word "present."  That is the language of offering, of giving someone something.  In this verse it is an issue of priority.  Knowing that life is short we are to wholeheartedly present it to God.  This verse is very similar to the NT scriptures of Rom. 12:1-2 where Paul tells us to present ourselves as an offering to God.  When will we do that?  It's 11:55 and time to do so.  The third element in the verse is "heart of wisdom."  At the risk of being blunt, the scripture is telling us that life is too short to waste it being dumb.  God desires for us to live with HIS wisdom.  In James 1 he promises to give us his wisdom if we ask for it, in faith, believing he will answer our request.  God has given us his word, which is the truth, given us his son, who is wisdom, and given us the privilege of prayer.  When we live a life of dependence upon God through regularly giving ourselves to the word of God, to prayer, and to being Jesus to others we will be living with godly wisdom.  And we need to because it's 11:55.....

A number of years ago there was a top ranked country song by Tim McGraw called "Live Like You Were Dying."  Tim's father, Tug McGraw, was a famous relief pitched who, after retiring, was diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer.  The song was a musical rendition of Tug's admonition to Tim to not waste time.  Each of us lives in a world that is suffering from "time cancer."  From a physical standpoint it is eating our lives away.  We can't get any of it back but we can maximize the remaining time by living effective lives of surrender to our Lord and giving ourselves to what he says is important.  I want to do that this year in a way I never have before.  I pray that you will join me in that heart attitude.  Why?  It's 11:55.............

Dr. Hal Irvine, Senior Pastor

The Servant Candle

Last night Pastor Dan and I joined the Tenzers for the menorah lighting ceremony at Bond Park.  Hanukkah is an 8 day celebration but I noticed 9 candles on the menorah.  I asked a gentleman I knew to be a Messianic Jew why there were 9 candles for an 8 day celebration?  He told me the center candle is called "the servant candle."  It is the candle used to light the other 8 candles.  While the story of Hanukkah is a thrilling story by itself I went home last night with another visual example of the gospel.  Jesus is the servant of the Lord written about extensively in the book of Isaiah.  He is the light of the world written about in the gospel of John.  He is the light that has given us the light to be a city set on a hill, to be lights that cannot be hidden, to be the light of the world (Matt. 5).  May the light of the life of Jesus Christ burn brightly in all our hearts/souls this Christmas season and in the new year.  As it does we can be assured that God will use us for His glory and the transformation of peoples' lives.  Again, Merry Christmas and may God use us to make a difference in this community in the coming year.

Dr. Hal Irvine, Senior Pastor

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